THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
MRS. GORE ANNOUNCES UNITED STATES WILL PROVIDE $10 MILLION TO HELP CENTRAL AMERICA MEET URGENT RELIEF NEEDS FROM HURRICANE MITCH Honduras To Receive $2 Million to Repair and Restore the Water System
Washington, DC -- Mrs. Tipper Gore announced today that the federal government will provide another $10 million to help the people of Central America address the devastation of Hurricane Mitch.
"The world must know that the tragedy in Central America is one of biblical proportions," said Mrs. Gore, who noted that today's announcement builds on the $70 million relief package that President Clinton had already announced. The $10 million will address such urgent relief needs as essential road repair to ease the transport of relief supplies as well as water purification and other basic sanitation efforts.
"We are here today because we are your neighbors and we are all Americans," she added. "Our peoples are linked not just by geography, culture and history, but by family. Many of our citizens have close relatives, grandparents, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and children already lost or suffering in this tragedy.
"We want the people of Central America to know that the United States will do all we can to help relieve the suffering from the devastation of Hurricane Mitch, and we will work with the world community to ensure a relief effort that is global and sustained."
Since last weekend, nine U.S. flights have arrived in Central America, four of those in Honduras bringing water and plastic sheeting to provide temporary shelter for mover 60,000 Hondurans. By Wednesday, 10 more Chinook helicopters and two more Black Hawk helicopters will arrive in the area.
Mrs. Gore announced the signing today of two agreements, totaling $2 million, between the local water authority and USAID to repair and restore the water system in Tegucigalpa and outlying areas. In addition, she said, the President has asked Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo and USAID to lead a mission to Central America and join with the private sector to facilitate housing reconstruction and infrastructure redevelopment.
"These efforts are just a beginning," Mrs. Gore said. "We are all committed to a long-term process of reconstruction to address the infrastructure, economic, and agricultural needs. Together, we intend to continue our work in the weeks, months, and even years ahead, to maintain our focus on what these countries and these people need to ensure their safety, health, and survival."
Mrs. Gore traveled with a U.S. delegation that included Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA); Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), and Xavier Becerra (D-CA); USAID Director Brian Atwood; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for InterAmerican Affairs Jack Leonard; and Atlanta Braves star Dennis Martinez.